Israel: ‘We are not animals’ — Thousands decry govt. deportation schemes in Jerusalem

Around 2,000 people staged a protest in downtown Jerusalem on Saturday night condemning the Israeli government's plan to deport 38,000 African asylum-seekers. Protesters held signs with slogans such as «We are willing to accept refugees» and «Deportation kills.» «We are going to tell people that we are not animals, we are not some supermarket things, we are human beings. Our brothers who are... Еще going to be sent from here to Rwanda, will be killed in Rwanda, in Uganda, in Libya», said one of the activists. The Israeli government has given thousands of migrants in the country an ultimatum; according to which they have to voluntarily leave Israel by April 1, in exchange for USD 3,500 (EUR 2,858) per person and a plane ticket; those who refuse could face indefinite imprisonment. Some protesters condemned plans to deport Eritrean asylum seekers to Rwanda. Protesters Bahani Nagassi said: «"We've come here from Eritrea, not from Rwanda. They [Israeli government] say we have to go back to Rwanda or Uganda. And we don't want to go back there. This is dangerous for us.» According to reports, Israel and Rwanda allegedly signed a secret agreement in which Israel had committed to pay the Rwandan government USD 5,000 (EUR 4083) for every deported refugee. Rwanda has denied this information. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his deportation plans on January 3, giving refugees 90 days' notice to leave the country, or else the government has warned 'to use other tools' at their disposal.

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